Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State, yesterday, asked people of the state to use all legal means to defend themselves against further attacks from herdsmen, saying the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, who ought to protect lives and property was busy playing politics with the issue.
The governor gave the charge on a phone-in radio programme in Makurdi on a day spokesman of the Nigeria Police Force, Jimoh Moshood, described him as a drowning man on a live Channels Television programme, Sunrise. Ortom, who also alleged that his life was being threatened, said he had yet to assess the extent of damage done to his farm house by herdsmen on Monday.
Speaking on the live radio programme, Governor Ortom said the call for the people to defend themselves became necessary because the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris who, should enforce security and safety of the people was playing politics with the unending killings in the state, and becoming the mouthpiece of the murderers of Benue people.
He said: “The Police said they arrested Livestock Guard members and termed them a militia group from Benue. It’s just a diversion from the main issue. “If you want to hang a dog, you give it a bad name. That is what the Inspector General of Police is doing, he is the mouthpiece of Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore. That is what the man represents. He should, therefore, resign his current position to serve full time in his new job. “So bad, they plant weapons on people and take their pictures and claim they are Benue Livestock Guards. Those people are not members of our Livestock Guard. It is just a planned thing. “The fact is that I am facing a lot of intimidation and blackmail but I am firm and strong because I have trust in God. “There are threats, even on my life, it is on record that I reported to the Police and those people responsible have not been arrested. “People say they are going to kill the governor. Is that not grievous enough to arrest the people concerned?
“Miyetti came out and owned up and threatened that bloodshed will continue in Benue. Is it not enough evidence for the Inspector-General of Police to arrest one person out of the group? “Fulani militia have come out in video to display the kind of weapons that they have and everyone has seen it; that is also not enough for the IGP to arrest these people. “But he chose to declare that we have militia in Benue State. If we have militia in the state, will the herdsmen come and kill our people the way they did and are currently doing? “It is because we are law- abiding. But you need to listen and hear the opinion of the people of the state on the matter. “I think the people should have the right to defend themselves and not make themselves easy prey to be killed in their homes. “So any lawful means you can adopt to defend yourself in Benue State, just go ahead. We are not going to wait for the Inspector-General of Police to do it because he has failed in his assignment. “I commiserate with the families of the Police personnel who came here and were killed by the herdsmen. It is unfortunate, the Police are dying and the Inspector-General of Police is playing politics with the issue. It is unfortunate. “The man should resign because he has failed woefully. He doesn’t have the capacity. There are many good Police officers who can take over that job and perform creditably by turning around the security architecture of this country and make things work and protect lives and property. That man has no business being the IGP.” Reacting to the comment by the Force Public Relations Officer, Chief Superintendent Jimoh Moshood, describing him (the governor) as a drowning man who should resign his position, Governor Ortom said: “Between me who is doing the will of the people and the IGP who is failing in his responsibilities, who should resign? “It is the IGP that has failed to do the right thing that should be called a drowning man, it is the IGP that should resign. “It is embarrassing, they are insulting me and insulting Nigerians; it is the IGP who is the chief enforcer of the law that has refused to enforce the law and has turned around to accuse me. “I am not a drowning man; I am doing what I was elected to do. Over 99 per cent of Benue people are with me, I’m acting their script, so nobody should try to intimidate me.” On the attack on his farm house by suspected herdsmen last Monday, Governor Ortom said: “Well, it is just one thing among so many things that have happened to the people of Guma and Logo local governments. Unwarranted attacks had been going on. Everyday, killings and attacks are going on. “You know that my farm is close to Gbajimba, the headquarters of Guma Local Government. And if the herdsmen can come as far as that place to invade and attack, it is obviously a source of worry. Though I’m yet to value and assess the damage because my farm manager and workers ran for their lives, we will do that at the right time.”
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Author: Annabel Paul